Underriner Emphasizes NADA Commitment to Fuel Economy Debate
William P. Underriner
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 6) — Incoming 2012 NADA Chairman William P. Underriner brought loud cheers from a standing-room-only audience when he said NADA would continue to challenge the proposed federal fuel-economy standards mandating vehicles meet 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Speaking at the closing session of the annual NADA Convention and Expo, Underriner said the proposed standards appear unreasonable and may well price "millions of Americans out of the market."
"We want a full and fair public debate on the underlying assumptions of this rule. And we simply don't understand the rush," Underriner said to sustained applause. "Let's not forget that new, aggressive fuel-economy regulations went into effect just last year. We need to see how the market responds to that first phase before rushing to the second phase."
Underriner emphasized that although the EPA has estimated the new requirement will add $3,000 to the cost of each vehicle, "the EPA has been wrong before. The increased costs could be much higher."
Underriner also said federal regulators seem not to understand that the main consideration for buyers is the vehicle’s upfront cost, not its long-term fuel savings. That turns the fuel-economy issue into a price-point/affordability issue, he noted.
Underriner presented new economic data showing that if the average cost of a car rises from $12,000 to $15,000, as many as 7.5 million Americans will be priced out of the market. “That means 7.5 million fewer customers in our showrooms.”
"We already know what that's like," Underriner said. "We've lived that nightmare. We don't want to repeat it.”
Further, Underriner said, if new cars are not purchased, there will be no fuel-economy benefits.
“Nobody else is raising the tough questions in Washington,” he said. “NADA is talking to the Office of Management and Budget. We are talking to the EPA, to NHTSA and Congress. What we do makes a difference. That's why all of us must stay involved in NADA."